f you workout first thing in the morning, you probably do it before eating a full breakfast.
There’s been an ongoing debate about whether it’s necessary to fuel up before going for that run or hitting the gym. Many studies say fasting before a workout helps you burn fat, while others suggest there’s some risk involved.
However there is new evidence that an empty stomach makes a more efficient workout. There are some downsides, so should you exercise hungry or lightly fed?
CAN EXERCISING HUNGRY HELP TO BURN MORE FAT?
The answer seems to be that hungry workouts really can be more efficient. ‘Training fasted’ (as opposed to ‘training fed’) seems to make the body burn more of its fat stores. If you ‘train fed’, carbohydrate is available as glucose in the blood and the body turns to that instead. Some small-scale studies are bearing out this theory.
There is even evidence that ‘training fasted’ can make your body more efficient for future ‘training fed’ sessions. These are the times when your body needs to make use of carbohydrate. Inability to do this efficiently can bring that ‘runners wall’ much closer, or give you a sudden dip in the middle of your weights or cardio session.
High Intensity Or Long Duration Exercise (>2 hours)
This type of exercise (HIIT, heavy weight lifting, crossfit) will use up stored carbohydrates and creatine phosphate. It will be hard to do if you do not eat before hand, and if you are very low in carbohydrates, you may use up protein / muscle as fuel (which you don’t really want).
If you do this type of exercise first thing in the morning, I would recommend eating something small and high in carbohydrates (such as fruit) prior to this workout. If you are exercising in the afternoon, I would recommend eating something high in carbohydrates and moderate in protein around 2 hours before. Some examples include yoghurt and berries, healthy sports bar or a piece of toast with eggs.
SO Is it Bad to Exercise on an Empty Stomach?
It can be a hotly debated topic: is it better to exercise on an empty stomach, or is not eating anything at all before a workout just setting yourself up for a lackluster performance?
Hence, if you perform any exercise, ensure that you grab some food before you do some exercise. And as always, consult your doctor first before you do any exercise or fitness program.